Tampa Bay Times and Sarasota Herald-Tribune win Pulitzer Prizes
The Tampa Bay Times and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for the series "Insane, Invisible, In Danger." a reporting partnership between the two papers. (Read the series)
Using thousands of pages of records compiled from across the state, reporters pieced together the first comprehensive database of violence and injury at Florida's state mental hospitals, then showed how violence and death got worse after state officials cut funding to the hospitals by $100 million. The reporters were Leonora LaPeter Anton and Anthony Cormier of the Times and Michael Braga of the Herald-Tribune.
In addition, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting was awarded to Michael LaForgia, Cara Fitzpatrick and Lisa Gartner of the Tampa Bay Times for their work in exposing how Pinellas County school leaders withheld promised funding and support from five predominantly black schools creating "Failure Factories," the title of the series that was published in 2015.
"Today, we celebrate journalism that makes a difference in our community," said Neil Brown, editor of the Times. "In recent years, the excitement of technological change combined with the pain of the Recession has prompted newsrooms like ours to re-imagine how we approach news and how we deliver it. But what we have never had to re-imagine is our mission: to do work that helps people and holds the powerful to account. That was true 50 years ago, that's absolutely true today. You can see it in the power of each of these stories."
"I couldn't be more proud of the Times journalists who produced this important work. And we're not done. We won't let up."
"The Herald-Tribune has adapted proactively during an era of rapid change in media, but our commitment to investigative journalism remains ingrained in why we exist and matter to our community," Herald-Tribune executive editor Bill Church said.
This is the second Pulitzer Prize for the Herald-Tribune and the second time Braga has been a finalist.
The wins are the 11th and 12th Pulitzers the Tampa Bay Times has been awarded. They are also the fifth and sixth Pulitzer Prize since 2009 and the third and fourth under the new banner, Tampa Bay Times. In 2012, the Times changed the name of the paper from the St. Petersburg Times to better reflect the regional community it already had been serving.